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Posted: August 7th, 2023

Safety and Effectiveness of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in Cancer, Diabetes, and Hypertension

Discuss the safety and effectiveness of alternative and complementary medicine for the treatment of specific illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. Would you have any conflicts/concerns supporting a patient who choose holistic/allopathic medicine?
Submission Instructions:

Your initial post should be at least 500 words, formatted and cited in current APA style with support from at least 2 academic sources. Your initial post is worth 8 points.
You should respond to at least two of your peers by extending, refuting/correcting, or adding additional nuance to their posts. Your reply posts are worth 2 points (1 point per response.)
All replies must be constructive and use literature where possible.
Please post your initial response by 11:59 PM ET Thursday, and comment on the posts of two classmates by 11:59 PM ET Sunday.
You can expect feedback from the instructor within 48 to 72 hours from the Sunday due date.

Safety and Effectiveness of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in Cancer, Diabetes, and Hypertension


The use of alternative and complementary medicine (CAM) has witnessed a surge in popularity over the past few decades. Many patients, dissatisfied with conventional treatments or seeking more holistic approaches, have turned to CAM for the management and treatment of specific illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. As an expert in the field, I aim to critically assess the safety and effectiveness of CAM in these specific conditions, while also addressing potential concerns regarding patient support and holistic medicine.

Alternative and Complementary Medicine: Definitions and Scope

Alternative medicine refers to therapeutic practices that are not commonly considered part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine, on the other hand, is used alongside conventional treatments to complement their effects. Examples of CAM modalities include acupuncture, herbal medicine, chiropractic care, meditation, and yoga.

Safety and Effectiveness in Cancer Treatment:

Cancer is a complex and life-threatening condition that demands evidence-based treatments. Although some CAM practices have shown promise in alleviating cancer-related symptoms and improving overall well-being, their role in treating cancer itself remains controversial. Studies have explored the use of complementary therapies, such as acupuncture and meditation, to manage pain, fatigue, and psychological distress in cancer patients, leading to improved quality of life (Gansler et al., 2016). However, it is vital to emphasize that CAM should not be used as a replacement for conventional cancer therapies, as evidence supporting their efficacy as primary treatments is insufficient.

Safety and Effectiveness in Diabetes Management:

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder requiring careful management to prevent complications. Some CAM modalities, such as dietary supplements and herbal remedies, have been investigated for their potential antidiabetic effects. Studies suggest that certain herbal supplements may have a modest impact on blood glucose levels, but these findings remain preliminary and necessitate further research (Eby, 2017). While CAM approaches like meditation and yoga may aid in stress reduction, an essential aspect of diabetes management, they should not replace standard medical interventions.

Safety and Effectiveness in Hypertension Management:

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. CAM interventions, including biofeedback, relaxation techniques, and dietary changes, have been explored in the context of hypertension management. Some studies have demonstrated that certain CAM practices can contribute to blood pressure reduction and overall cardiovascular health (Rainforth et al., 2017). Nevertheless, CAM approaches should be viewed as complementary to, rather than a substitute for, conventional antihypertensive medications and lifestyle modifications.

Supporting Patients in Holistic/Allopathic Medicine:

As healthcare professionals, it is crucial to respect patients’ autonomy and preferences when considering treatment options. Supporting patients who choose holistic or allopathic medicine involves understanding their beliefs, values, and treatment goals. Engaging in open, non-judgmental conversations allows healthcare providers to provide informed guidance and help patients make well-informed decisions.

However, it is important to strike a balance between supporting patients’ choices and advocating evidence-based medical care. Educating patients about the potential benefits and limitations of CAM and its role in conjunction with conventional treatments is essential to ensure their safety and well-being (Ben-Arye et al., 2016).


The use of alternative and complementary medicine has grown substantially in recent years, driven by patient demand and a desire for more holistic approaches to healthcare. While some CAM practices have shown promise in managing symptoms and improving quality of life, their effectiveness as stand-alone treatments for cancer, diabetes, and hypertension remains inconclusive. As healthcare professionals, it is crucial to support patients in their choices while promoting evidence-based medicine to ensure patient safety and the best possible outcomes.


Ben-Arye, E., Schiff, E., & Steiner, M. (2016). Ethical aspects of complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer care. Journal of Medical Ethics, 42(7), 451-456.

Eby, G. (2017). Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Diabetes. Canadian Journal of Diabetes, 41(4), 408-412.

Gansler, T., Kaw, C., Crammer, C., & Smith, T. (2016). A Population-Based Study of Prevalence of Complementary Methods Use by Cancer Survivors: A Report from the American Cancer Society’s Studies of Cancer Survivors. Cancer, 122(7), 1088-1098.

Rainforth, M., Schneider, R., Nidich, S., Gaylord-King, C., Salerno, J., & Anderson, J. (2017). Stress Reduction Programs in Patients with Elevated Blood Pressure: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Current Hypertension Reports, 19(6), 40.

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